Akita Inu: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health


Among the characteristics of the Akita Inu or Japanese Akita, its strong and large size stands out. Its character is docile, faithful, friendly and alert. At Petlifey , we explain everything about the Akita Inu breed.


Character of the Akita Inu

The character of the Akita is docile, intelligent and with a lot of courage . It does not know fear or shy away from confrontation when it deems it necessary. Hence its nickname “canine samurai”. But that is not an impediment for them to behave like a very affectionate and affectionate animal with its family.

In spite of everything, due to the behavior of the Akita , it cannot be said that it is a suitable dog for any type of owner.

To get the best out of this special breed it is necessary to have some experience in dealing with animals and to know the mechanisms of canine behaviour.

The Akita’s personality means that you need a consistent leader who acts firmly, consistently, and confidently. Only in this way does it give themselves totally to its owner and leave the decisions in its hands, to limit themselves to being the simple executor of its orders.

Otherwise, it becomes somewhat stubborn and further strengthens its natural independence, to the point that it may start to make its own decisions and try to occupy a position that does not correspond to them in the hierarchical family pyramid.

The temperament of the Akita dog breed means that, if it is not subjected to adequate discipline, it becomes possessive and overprotective, and develops aggressive behaviours towards other dogs and towards animals of other species.

For this reason, the work of training this dog must begin when it is a puppy of a few weeks, with the main objective of strengthening the bonds of loyalty with its owner and creating automatic response mechanisms to its orders.

If it is possible to control all the daily activity of the dog, it comes to assume the presence of its owner and leader as essential, and then entrusts its life and everything it does to them.

Actually, the temperament and the way of acting of the Akita is very much in line with the cultural traditions of Japan, since the shoguns and samurai were also men of honour who had at their command others who placed the most trust in their leaders. high and made them masters of their own lives, in the same way as they did with the emperor. Very hierarchical dog , if it is made to understand what the established order is clearly, it will never try to transgress it, unless it is to defend its own, because in its heart a noble warrior always beats and willing to do anything for its family.

That is why it is said that the dog is man’s best friend, but the truth is that this has been achieved because for millennia men have molded dogs in their image and likeness, taking into account their characteristics and needs. Using selective criteria among which are the culture and character of each person.

This explains how a dog can so clearly reflect the traditional Japanese idiosyncrasy and temperament.

Along with its hunting skills or its temperament for fighting, both of which are now almost obsolete in Japan, the Akita is a fearless and incorruptible guard dog.

In fact, by tradition, mothers left their youngest children in the care of a specimen of the breed, which shows the trust and attachment they felt for their dogs.

Consequently, the relationship between the Akita and children is extraordinary, but the little ones should only be left alone with them if it has been used to it since it was a puppy.

And especially, taking the precaution, on the one hand, of not leaving unknown children in their presence and, on the other, of educating the kids about how to treat their dog, teaching them to value their characteristics and respect their way of be.

A specimen that is pressured or subjected to humiliating treatment can turn around and even bite, something very dangerous in this breed given that it is a strong and powerful animal.

Children should learn from their parents to treat the dog as if they were their leader, behaving towards them in the same way as the person who occupies the most prominent place in the “pack.”

The Akita is an ideal dog for dynamic families and those who have some knowledge about dealing with dogs, as with them it becomes an ideal companion animal , provided that it is guaranteed the adequate physical and mental exercise that it needs on a daily basis.

  • Energy:  You need a lot of exercise and simple walks on a leash are not enough.
  • Temperament: it is a calm, faithful and docile dog, and very receptive. It is a brave, active, independent and proud dog. Very loyal to its family, with its master it is obedient, devoted and affectionate.
  • Adaptability: medium / High. You can adapt to city life, but as long as you are guaranteed to get plenty of exercise.
  • Sociability: medium / High. It is friendly with its family and gets along well with children if they respect them. By defending its family, it can attack.
  • Health: There are cases of dysplasias and thyroid disorders.
  • Longevity: Live between 12 and 15 years.
  • Utility: versatile. It is above all a companion dog, but also a utility, guard and, before, combat and hunting dog.
  • Use: company.

Akita Inu characteristics

Regarding the general appearance of the Japanese Akita, it is a very large dog, robust and strong complexion, and with a significant body mass, but well proportioned.

The secondary sexual characteristics are clearly defined. It is an animal that exudes great nobility and dignity in its physiognomy.

With a very large size, its body is characterized by its strong, solid and very balanced constitution. Its structure is rather rectangular and the body of the females is somewhat longer than that of the males. Its head is well proportioned to the body, it has a broad forehead and a sharp frontal furrow. The muzzle is strong and not very long, with a straight muzzle. The truffle is large and black.

Their eyes are dark brown in color, relatively small, almost triangular, with the outer corner slightly raised upward and set moderately far apart.

It has relatively small, thick, triangular ears with a rounded tip. They are somewhat separated and the animal carries them upright and inclined forward.

It has thick and rounded feet, they are arched and with tight toes. They support strong limbs and good bones.

Its tail is always thick, set high and is heavily covered with long, soft hair. The animal wears it tightly curled on its back, and when the tip hangs it reaches the hocks.

The Akita Inu has a smooth, hard-textured coat on the outer coat, and very abundant on the inner coat. The color range includes tawny red, sesame, brindle and white. Some resemble the Red Husky.

Let’s now see in more detail what the breed standard is like :

Akita Inu breed standard

  • General Appearance: It is a large dog, solid and strong looking, and well balanced. It distills nobility and lordship.
  • Size: very large.
  • Height at the withers: between 64 and 70 cm for males and between 58 and 64 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 35 and 50 kg for males and between 30 and 45 kg for females.
  • Origin: Japan.
  • Other names: Japanese Akita / Akita / Akita inu.
  • Body: it is slightly elongated, with a robust complexion and a tucked belly. Back: It is straight and firm, with a broad and muscular loin.
  • Head: it has a broad forehead and its size is in proportion to body dimensions.
  • Skull: presents a clearly drawn frontal furrow without wrinkles.
  • Muzzle: it is moderately long and strong, with a wide base that tapers towards the tip, without being pointed. The muzzle is straight.
  • Nose: large and black; in the case of specimens with white hair, it sometimes presents a small and diffuse lack of pigmentation.
  • Eyes: they are relatively small, almost triangular, with the external angle slightly stretched upwards and set somewhat apart from each other. The iris is dark brown.
  • Ears: quite small in size, thick, triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tip. They appear quite far apart from each other, erect and inclined forward.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): it is well defined.
  • Jaws: they are provided with strong teeth, with a scissor bite. The lips are firm.
  • Neck: it is thick and muscular, in harmony with the size of the head, and it does not have a dewlap.
  • Chest: deep, with a well developed fore chest and moderately arched ribs.
  • Forelimbs: they are strong and with good bones. The shoulders are somewhat oblique and well developed. The forearms are straight and endowed with powerful bones. Its elbows are very close to the body.
  • Hind limbs: well developed, with strong bones, and slightly angulated.
  • Feet: thick, rounded and arched, with tight toes.
  • Tail: set high, it is quite thick and the animal wears it tightly curled on its back. With the tail lowered, the tip reaches almost to the hock.
  • Color: fawn red, sesame (fawn red with black tips), brindle and white. All the colors mentioned, except white, have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, under the jaw and neck, on the chest, abdomen, under the tail and on the inside of the limbs. This whitish hue is typical of the breed and is known internationally as “urajiro”.
  • Hair: double-layered, the outer coat is hard and straight, while the undercoat is fine and dense. The area of ​​the withers and the rump are covered with a fur slightly longer than in the rest of the body, and it is in the tail where it reaches its greatest length.
  • Movement: This animal has a springy and powerful movement.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 255. Group 5 – Spitz and primitive type dogs. Section 5 – Asian Spitz and related breeds.

Akita Inu puppies

If you are reading this article, it is probably because you are planning to buy an akita puppy from a breeder. Or maybe, better yet, adoption.

In that case, we believe that there is a series of information that you must take into account to know if it is the right dog for you.

One of the first things that a Japanese Akita owner must learn is that their dog needs a lot of activity and, above all, very varied, as it tends to get bored with routines.

A good solution is to take advantage of the walks to discover new environments: mountains, beach, rivers, etc. When the Akita coincides with other dogs, conflicts and confrontations can occur, especially if there are hierarchy problems.

The Akita is a very hierarchical dog that needs to receive a good training in its puppy stage. If its master knows how to establish themselves as a good leader, it will gain its loyalty and its total obedience.

With these premises, you will ensure you have happy puppies and, when they grow up, a faithful, loyal dog pet that will always be by your side unconditionally.


Akita Inu education and training

As it is an animal with many capacities, dynamic, intelligent and active, it can be used in many different activities, such as agility, hunting, some useful sports, etc.

Although it is not the most suitable breed for others such as obedience, since this increasingly popular discipline is based on the repetitive development of certain programs and exercises, with which the Akita tends to get bored easily. The best thing, then, is to draw up a very varied and dynamic training program.

Considering that you need to exercise on a daily basis. Routine walks on a leash are not enough for them, it is evident that the Akita is not the urban dog par excellence, but even so it is capable of adapting quite well to living anywhere.

However, it does not excessively enjoy the continuous influx of dogs and people it does not know, but it does not become excessively problematic with the neighbours, since it is not a very barking dog.

What does not take at all well is living alone, isolated, in a shed in the garden or in a kennel, out of sight of your family for many hours.

For millennia it has been selected as a dog for the house and the presence of its closest references is essential for it to maintain its good health and find its correct emotional balance.

Every owner, or potential owner, of an Akita should strive to know the breed as thoroughly as possible. Only from the knowledge and respect, especially on the part of the person who must take command of the relationship (which, from the beginning, arises on premises of certain inequality), is it possible for the mission to be successful.

The communication with this dog is essential when working conditions and make it full advantage.

Humans have verbal language as a fundamental asset of communication, but the Akita must use their entire body and different attitudes to communicate their moods.

Actually, it is a very gesticulating dog that uses its face to adopt different types of grimaces and moves its whole body to express what it feels at all times, in addition to being able to modulate its bark to express its feelings and transmit different emotions to through a wide variety of different tones and modulations.

All this must be interpreted appropriately by the person who works with the dog if they want to interact correctly with it and want to get the most out of the breed, which, as we have seen, has great potential in every way.

Therefore, the first objective of the guide or owner of a specimen of this breed, before starting to work with the dog in a specific training program , is to establish mutual knowledge.

It must be during the growth stage, when the animal is a puppy and develops a special empathy towards the people with whom it lives most closely and in whom it finds its vital references.

During these first months of the Akita’s life, its owner plays an essential role, since it becomes the natural leader of the dog and it follows them everywhere and always obeys them.

But it must also learn to behave as a skilful and perceptive companion, a friend capable of knowing and understanding its dog in its entirety, that is, with all its peculiarities, both those that are given by its breed and those that are the result of individuality.

It is seen that not all copies of the same breed always behave in the same way, each one has its own personality.


Akita breed diet

Regarding the diet of the Japanese Akita, the fundamental thing to keep the dog healthy throughout its life is to provide it with a balanced diet.

Rich in proteins of animal origin (to guarantee muscle development and maintenance) and quality fats (to give life and vigour to your hair, your eyes, etc.).

At present, the main manufacturers of dog food have launched specific products for this breed.

You can buy croquettes or feed for akita in specialized stores, or more comfortably and with more variety online.

Apart from what the akita eats, it is essential that the owner is aware that this pet needs to receive an adequate level of exercise and training in the precise emotional environment.


Akita Inu health and diseases

This is a breed with an average longevity of between 12 and 15 years, and in good health. Due to its size, it can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, in addition to showing a certain predisposition to thyroid disorders.

It also does not escape certain autoimmune diseases, skin and eye problems, and knee dislocation, something surprising in a breed of this size, but which is caused by the particular conformation of its rear joint.

On the other hand, the owner should seek the help of a trusted veterinarian from the first moment, to which they can take their Japanese Akita for all the pertinent health check- ups.

Also, have it vaccinated, dewormed, put a subcutaneous identification microchip in case of theft or loss, and answer any questions that may arise.

The knowledge of all these diseases must become a useful weapon in the hands of hobbyists and breeders.

If they identify which are the affected or carriers of some of these genetically transmitted diseases, it will be possible to eradicate little by little many of the most serious conditions through the proper selection of breeding individuals.


Specific care of the Akita Inu breed

In relation to hygienic and aesthetic care, as the Japanese Akita has a double coat, with abundant and dense undercoat, it requires a certain maintenance, but the specific aesthetic arrangement is not complicated.

The essential thing is to brush it two or three times a week, and more frequently during shedding periods, to remove dead hair, while stimulating the growth of the new coat.

It is important to know that this dog can move up to three times a year, although the most normal thing is that it does so twice, and in the case of the specimens that live inside the house, it changes, far from being a seasonal episode. It becomes an almost chronic phenomenon.

The bath is also an important part in the hygiene of this dog, but it should not be abused, since it is a breed with delicate skin that can suffer with the repeated use of soaps.

For this reason, it is essential to use a suitable shampoo for its type of coat and not to use very hot water, but only lukewarm.

With these few cares, the Japanese Akita will be a clean, healthy and very beautiful pet, which, together with its extraordinary fidelity and good character; make them a perfect pet.


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